Digital India Project Needs Urgent Regulatory Framework And Procedural Safeguards

Praveen-DalalMuch has been discussed about the Digital India project of Narendra Modi Government from time to time. Some have considered Digital India a landmark project while others have labeled it as mere gimmick. However, it is premature to predict the future and efficacy of Digital India project at this stage as like National E-Governance Plan (NeGP) of Congress Government, even Digital India project must be given at least 5 years to work.

Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) has been providing its techno legal inputs, opinions and suggestions regarding Digital India project since the very inception. We support the Digital India project of Narendra Modi Government just like we supported the NeGP of Congress Government. However, we also have some apprehensions about Digital India just like its predecessor NeGP.

Surprisingly, both NeGP and Digital India are suffering from same shortcomings despite being launched by two different Governments separated by a gap of many years. The logical conclusion is that either the mentality and work style of both Congress and BJP Governments is same or NeGP has been renamed as Digital India with some active administrative push from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). However, if the shortcomings of Digital India are not removed urgently, it may have limited success just like its predecessor NeGP.

We would discuss these critical issues separately and in great detail in our individual articles. In this article we would discuss some of the apprehensions that we have raised from time to time since the launch of Digital India project. We request that the Narendra Modi Government to consider various suggestions given by Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) from time to time.

To better coordinate the efforts of Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) with Indian Government, we have launched the first ever Centre of Excellence for Digital India Laws and Regulations in India (CEDILRI). The CEDILRI would provide techno legal opinions and suggestions to various stakeholders associated with the Digital India project of Indian Government. Digital India stakeholders may also find our Digital India Laws Daily useful in this regard.

The first suggestion that P4LO and CEDILRI would provide to Indian Government is that the Digital India project needs an urgent regulatory framework and adequate procedural safeguards so that digital information and data are safe and secure. We do not have dedicated laws for Privacy and Data Protection (PDF) in India and Digital India may face troubles in future. Presently India is not in a position to ensure Civil Liberties Protection in Cyberspace for Indian masses. Narendra Modi Government’s push to club Digital India with Aadhaar has also given rise to complicated and Constitutional Censorship and Surveillance issues in India.

The second suggestion of P4LO and CEDILRI pertains to Cyber Security Infrastructure of India that needs urgent rejuvenation. Cyber Security in India is still evolving and this is a problematic issue. When Laws are always much behind the technology, absence of Cyber Security can be catastrophic. As on date the Digital Indian Cyber Security is not at all convincing. If we are plugging everything into a digital environment and are not focusing upon its Cyber Security, this is a bad Policy decision. Before launching projects we must ensure robust and resilient Cyber Security for them. We also need dedicated Cyber Security Laws in India for projects like Digital India and for protection of Indian Cyberspace.

The third suggestion of P4LO and CEDILRI pertains to formulation of Techno Legal Policies regarding Cyber Security and National Security. We have been stressing since 2008 that issues like Cyber Terrorism, National Security and Cyber Security must be taken seriously by Indian Government. We even made some representations to both Congress and BJP Governments in this regard from time to time. We have also suggested to Indian Government that Cyber Security must be part of National Security Policy of India. In short, the National Security Policy of India needs a techno legal boost while duly incorporating the Cyber Security related aspects.

The fourth suggestion of P4LO and CEDILRI pertains to formulation of National Cyber Security Policy of India 2016 by Narendra Modi Government. This is because the existing National Cyber Security Policy of India 2013 (NCSP 2013) is not only inadequate but is also suffering from many shortcomings.

Actual implementation of existing Policies and Laws is the biggest hurdle before the Indian Government. For instance, it is of no use to formulate even the best Laws and Policies if they are or cannot be implemented in a timely manner. Through this blog and other web resources of Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) we would contribute our Techno Legal Expertise for formulation and implementation of Digital India Laws and Regulations in India. We hope national and international stakeholders would find our initiatives useful.


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